Covid-19, why it increases the risk of depression and how to defend yourself

Covid-19, why it increases the risk of depression and how to defend yourself

Those who have come into contact with Covid-19 are five times more at risk of depression. Women and the elderly are the most exposed

Experts call it "syndemia". It is the dangerous combination between physical and psychological health condition that Covid-19 can induce not only on people who contract the virus, but also in those who live next to them and more generally those who "suffer" the economic and social consequences of what is happening happening.

According to the experts of the Italian Society of Neuropsychopharmacology (SINPF), in those who have come into contact with the virus the probability of depressive symptoms increases up to five times and above all there is the risk of conditions of this type growing in those who have to face economic difficulties. .

The figures are worrying

According to scholars, half of the infected people manifest disorders with an incidence of 42% anxiety or insomnia, 28% of post-traumatic stress disorder and 20% of obsessive-compulsive disorder; in addition, 32% of those who have come into contact with the virus develop depressive symptoms, an incidence up to five times higher than in the general population. Women and the elderly are at high risk.

"The health, economic and social conditions that have arisen following the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a real syndemic: the disease connected to the infection has been joined by an enormous impact on the psychological well-being of the entire population, has come into contact with the virus directly, both of those who have not been infected but are experiencing the consequences of the ongoing crisis on their skin ", explains Claudio Mencacci, co-president of the Italian Society of NeuroPsicoPharmacology and director of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Department ASST Fatebenefratelli-Sacco of Milan.

"In those who have come into contact with the virus, the likelihood of mental distress is higher, with an incidence of depressive symptoms increasing from 6 to 32%; up to 10% of those who have lost a loved one to Covid-19 will face a complicated bereavement that will last over 12 months, also due to the contagion containment rules that have prevented many from being able to process the pain, reviewing one last time the relative for the last farewell ".

Furthermore, with the prolongation of the state of emergency and the restrictions on sociability, work, the possibility of planning a future, even those who have not been infected are on the verge of a nervous breakdown: after an initial phase in which the possible to resist and above all the fear of the virus was fought, now exhaustion, fatigue, sometimes anger have taken over.

"And what worries above all is the wave of mental illness induced by the economic crisis: the environmental and socio-economic conditions have in fact a great weight on the mental well-being of the population and the Covid-19 pandemic is creating the conditions for the spread of the discomfort – confirms Matteo Balestrieri, co-president of the Italian Society of NeuroPsicoPharmacology and full professor of Psychiatry at the University of Udine ".

Who risks more and how to defend yourself

High risk are above all women, more predisposed to depression and more affected by the social and work repercussions of Covid-19: more than men have in fact been forced to leave their jobs, more than men have endured and are bearing double the burden of work and family care during the more or less rigid lockdowns that have occurred over the last year.

However, young people aged 16 to 34, who have seen their social life change with the closure of high schools and universities and suffer the effects of the crisis on employment and the possibility of entering the world of work, and the elderly also risk , more fragile in the face of contagions and mental disorders.

“Today science is able to give effective answers to people's health needs – concludes Balestrieri. We are experiencing it first hand with the massive research effort that has made it possible to have a vaccine against Covid-19 with an unthinkable speed only ten years ago, but it is also true in the mental health sector where therapies have changed face and are today in able to enormously improve the quality of life of patients with mental disorders. However, provided that the drugs, if necessary, are always prescribed by the specialist doctor, who then has to manage the treatments together with the family doctor. Do-it-yourself, which we fear will be adopted by many in a difficult time like the present one, risks not solving problems and also expose to health risks ".

Read also

  • The burden of Covid-19 on mental health
  • Depression, early diagnosis to better treat it
  • Schizophrenia: what it is and how it manifests itself
  • Covid-19 and empty nest syndrome, on who and how they impact the psyche
  • Depression, movement helps to fight it

Tag: Coronavirus Depression

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